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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Victorians Had Fun, Too!

This weekend I will return to Victorian Christmas programs, so it's a good time to check the information I posted earlier and add a few new things.  For example Victorian parlour games from Old Fashioned which are not specifically Christmas, but of the era and many could be given a Christmas flavor.

For lovely old illustrations and views of the season go to Scrap Album's Victorian Christmas pages (although they've made many so the illustrations don't reproduce, but they give you a good view into the times)
-- the 14 pages go on past Christmas to Boxing Day, New Year's, and even Twelfth Night.  Along the way they show picture postcards and more of Seasonal Decoration; Christmas Music Makers (as noted in previous Victorian Christmas articles here, caroling was a very Victorian contribution); Home for the Holidays (it was very family oriented and took Macy's in 1870 to start the commercial tendency with sales of European toys); Christmas Eve and Day; Presents (yes, the postcards and article are show "store-bought", but homemade gifts were a treasured and long-planned part of gift giving; Christmas Fare -- although this is definitely not looking to see how much here in the U.S. we may or may not have served the same.; After Dinner with another parlor game, Christmas crackers, and more music; and on to those days that stretch the holiday season

For a quick summary of the holiday here in the pre-Civil War and barely re-United States there's Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Indiana's "History of Antebellum Christmas."   Victoriana magazine's online look at Christmas always keeps growing with ideas, too.
Be sure to look at last year's article about Scary Ghost Stories.  In it I mentioned the connection between Charles Dickens and Christmas.  David Perdue's Charles Dickens has many sections on the author, but the link I just gave is to the Christmas page on Dickens.  The author's lectures in our country surely spread his emphasis on the holiday.  I love the quote there about hearing of his death in 1870, a little costermonger's girl in London asked, "Mr. Dickens dead? Then will Father Christmas die too?" Our modern song, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" mentions "scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago", which goes back to those Victorian traditions including Dickens own efforts.  As a storyteller I applaud any storytelling traditions.

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